Justine finds herself captured by vampire destroyers, only to be sold to a freak show that features both civil and feral vampires.
"I was dragged down the stairs and pushed inside a wagon. A man sat with me, laughing and taunting. “We have you, you vampire whore. Don’t think death will come to you easily, for it won’t. There is much planned for you. He lifted up a heavy chain. “This is special. It is coated with silver—it weakens vampires. That is why you were easy to subdue!”
The effect of that alloy not only weakened me, it made me sick and dizzy. I recall little after that, just the realization of the wagon stopping.
“The Hall of Wonders! Your new home!”
I was dragged out, kicked and spat at. I tried to see where they were taking me, but it was impossible. A door whined open. There were stairs. I could hear heavy footsteps—as for me, I was merely pushed down onto the next level. How it stunk. There was the overpowering smell of dust and damp, I smelled too rodent droppings—and the sweet pungent stench of their urine.
The men were calling to one another. “Along here. That’s right just pull her as long as she is subdued…”
They still feared me which made me smile and I had so little to smile about. We didn’t walk long, just a few hundred yards or so. I looked to see open doors and light coming from within.
“Your new residence,” one of them laughed. I knew there were vampires as soon as they pushed me inside. And because their scents differed, I knew they were a few varieties. I smelled Ferals and my kind as well as Rogues.
That was when I began to fight them. The realization that there were Rogues was horrific. I tried to move but was restrained. They shouted at me and at one another giving various commands one of which was to clean me up.
“Wash her off!”
They did. Buckets of cold water were splashed all over me. “You’re a monster,” they shouted. “But you can be a less bloody one.”
One of them had come forward. I had noticed him before. He had been quietly watching me. “Destroyers have delivered you to us,” he smiled. “They are our agents.”
I began to ask him what he meant but he started to walk away. “Welcome to hell,” he said. “You should feel right at home here.”
I took my first look at where I was then. There were cages on both sides. The Ferals were screaming and growling. As for the Rogues, they were hanging from the bars and hissing, their yellow eyes staring wildly at me. I began screaming. I am sure I called Edward’s name.
No one cared—they just kept moving me along, dragging me past them—toward the vampires. Vampires, I saw that were watching me so pityingly.
“In you go!”
A cage door was opened and I was shoved inside with such force that I fell. My kind came to comfort me. “It is bad here.” They said.
I could still hear the horrific shrieks of the Rogues and Ferals. They sound almost alike sometimes.
“They suffer the most,” I was told. One vampire, quite elderly, told me what I had to look forward to. “There are shows. We are but an exhibit for the curious. There is much that goes on here.”
He introduced himself as Gregory. “I was with a coven recently. They are no more.”
I assumed they were destroyed. When I asked, he shook his head. “No, the cause was something else. They sickened and died. I mourn them daily for they were my friends.”
That made me think of Gascoyne and his coven. I asked the vampire if he had ever heard of him. He recalled the name, he said. He explained that there were many covens. Nearly all of them have been destroyed by one thing or another. He meant Destroyers or illness. I would have spoken with him more but it was time for our feeding.
Just as they threw in live rodents and rabbits, people began to appear; all sorts of people—most of them well dressed. I imagined they took a hefty price to show them these, the freaks. One man walked up to the cage and when I hissed at him he turned white. I was thrilled.
When two women began to stare and laugh, I deliberately seized upon a rabbit and tore its throat out. One of them fainted; the other continued to watch me feed.
“They think they’re better than us,” Gregory said. “Why is that?”
I had no answer.
All I could think of was Edward’s savage death at the hands of a Rogue. I wondered if he had invited the savage in, thinking it was me! My poor friend, a friend I’d have willingly been destroyed to save. His bloody death was the reason I was here. Perhaps it was where I was meant to be. Perhaps nothing really mattered.
There was no end to the stream of people passing by. They looked quite degenerate to me despite being well dressed. As the night wore on a different sort of clientele began to appear; men with women who looked drunk and loose. The men were kissing and fondling the women. It was disgusting, even to me.
If I thought things were bad, I was in for a big surprise. Gregory warned me when our cage door was unlocked and I was taken out—“they’re taking you to the special room.”
That sounded ominous. I made no protest, there was no point and I didn’t feel like being spat upon.
“That’s a good wench!” the Handler cried as he dragged me inside another room; a room where an audience waited, an impatient one to be sure. They kept crying out for the show to start.
I was led into a cage along with some others. When I asked what was going to happen I didn’t receive an answer. I had no choice but to wait. The door opened some time later and a man was thrown inside, he was half conscious. It was clear he had already been fed upon. I realized what they wished us to do! We were to feed on this pathetic man for a show!
What vampire didn’t feed on human blood? I certainly had, yet I didn’t wish to do it now, not like this. This was for prurient interest. We fed because we required blood and human blood was best, but we didn’t have to drain the person. That was up to each vampire and because of all that happened to me, I was at the point where I no longer wished to kill any living thing!
I looked around for an opportunity to escape. Another female whispered. “They will bring you down before you know it.”
I wondered if that wouldn’t be better, if I wouldn’t prefer that. I think she realized. “Feed, feed a little just to show you are obeying.”
That seemed a reasonable suggestion. Down I sank onto my knees. As I bent toward my victim, he looked at me. Then he closed his eyes. I sank my teeth into the soft flesh of his throat. His blood was tangy for it was young the man was still in the first blush of manhood. As I drank I saw images of his life, just as I expected I would."
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"'Top of its genre!"
"Revenge, betrayal, passion, bloodshed, lust and love are just a few of the elements of this dark and spellbinding book."
"Justine, realizes she as a vampire could actually love and in fact is in love with Gascoyne. I think that was the turning point in the story."
"This vampire romance is rich in history, deep in blood sex and exotic locations and is very highly recommended."
"Vampires have their own allure and none more so than the female."